Five questions to ask of the Iron Mill Conference 'Young People in the 21st Century'


1.       Is school counselling still a luxury we just cannot afford?

With the government recommending that every school should have a school counsellor, has over fifty five years (Newsom, 1963), of fluctuating fortunes for this Cinderella profession, finally pushed the carriage to the ball? Or does the climate of austerity and cuts mean that the clock will inevitably continue to strike midnight on counselling services in schools?

The answer to this question may reside in the research presented by Professor Cooper who will share the outcomes of a range of projects initiated to prove that school counselling might one day take its place not only in schools but in NICE recommendations for mental health professional practice. The findings of the first Randomised Control Trial, recently completed and being presented at this conference, may have wide ranging implications not only for school counsellors but for the counselling based initiatives like pastoral care and emotional literacy practiced in schools.

2.       Please sir, my trauma is hurting. Can you help?

For a young person who has perceived that they have experienced trauma, the body may always hold the score (Van der Kolk, 2015).  Hypervigilant, trapped, aching, remembering while forgetting, what can we do to help? What if the trauma is compounded by ghosts in the nursery (Fraiberg, 1975) a relentless thirteenth fairy that will keep coming to family events even when she is not invited.

What happens when we carry unhealthy and unresolved patterns of relating into our children? This is the sense of intergenerational trauma that often haunts our work with families and young people. Joanna Fortune will offer some insight into how to break the spell using the most recent ideas from the attachment filed of theory and practice.

3.       What shall I do when Olivia becomes Oliver?

Although young people are often presented as being at the centre of disintegrating social structures, what happens when they embrace fragmentation and take the lead role in bringing about change?

Faced with new language, new practices and new legislation , this is a brave new world for many clients-and their parents, therapists, teachers and all other youth practitioners who are now supporting a new set of human rights.

Artists have always explored the boundaries of difference and identity and artist and psychotherapist Neil Young will help signpost and develop our work in this area.  

4.       Can we really blame technology?

Generation Z is growing up in cyberspace. Comfortable with technology and social media. Working through Minecraft and Fortnight to Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. Pausing rather than stopping. They fly creative and log out in class. Are they creating new problems or forging new frontiers? How do we like? When do we defriend? Are computer games a mental health problem or a new rite of passage?

Teleported from Bournemouth University’s internationally recognised Cyberpsychology Department, Dr Sarah Hodge will help us consider a balanced view of how technology might help and challenge young people.

5.       When we write our names in the sand, do the waves roll in and wash them away? (adapted from Augustus)  

For everyone who believes in journeys and magic, who believes questions are more important than answers, or who just wants to leave the madding crowd, enjoy a workshop with Iron Mill’s own inimitable Sean Flynn.

Find more information on the Poole Conference on Saturday 16th March 2019 here.

Marilyn McGowan 

Development Co-ordinator for activities and opportunities at 
Iron Mill College, Poole as well as a lecturer on the Certificate in CounsellingAdvanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling, the Foundation Degree (FdSc) in Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMH) and the Post Qualifying Diploma in Counselling Children and Adolescents.

Marilyn is responsible for developing opportunities for the student learning community at 
Iron Mill College, Poole. She has an extensive portfolio in counselling training-developing, managing and delivering counselling programmes from Basic to Advanced Diploma and Degree Levels. Marilyn's commitment to counselling children and young people has also led her to develop CPD courses at national and international levels, within statutory and voluntary sectors, for fellow professionals involved in supporting vulnerable young people. 

A former Chair of 
BACP’s Counselling in Education Division (now CCYP), Marilyn was editor of the first set of Guidelines for Counsellors in Schools. Her development of Peer Supervision for Key Workers in Careers Scotland won a National Careers Guidance Award. She is currently developing initiatives for parent counselling in schools as well as continuing to work as a School Counsellor, Supervisor and Trainer. Marilyn also continues to develop her own learning by undertaking a Professional Doctorate in School Counselling. 


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What our Students Say

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